Monday, August 26, 2013

Gospel, gratitude and giggles

COLUMBIA, Md. — This week is the start of transfer #3 for me here in Maryland. President told me they shredded my visa and that I wasn’t allowed to go to Argentina anymore. So no visa, and I am staying here for the 18 months.

Just kidding!

I am sure I will make it to Buenos Aires, the question is when? But I am not worried about it, just doing my best and working hard here in Columbia, Maryland.

Well Fam Bam, what is new? Are you all thinking it's weird that summer is pretty much over? I cannot believe it! That flew by! Mom, how was your birthday? Labor Day is almost here. What are you all doing for Labor Day? For us, it is another P-day, but our branch is having a picnic as well so that should be fun.

Papusas... be very jealous!
I think I told you this last week but we got a Lider de Obra Misional (ward mission leader). He is awesome! And helping the missionary work so much. We are trying to get our little branch excited and more involved in the work. This transfer is going to be awesome with lots of miracles, I know it! We had a pretty awesome turnout at church on Sunday. Between the Spanish elders and us, we had 13 less actives at church and 1 investigator! :) WAHOOOO!

Usually, the weeks fly by here, but for some reason, this week has seemed pretty slow. Not bad at all, but I can't even remember what went on because there were so many things and my crazy mind keeps getting weeks confused.

We were able to get some investigators progressing and hopefully this next week we can get a few on date to be baptized.

Funny experience of my week: I swear it was Law of Chastity Week with everyone! Funny thing is I have never taught it before in English let alone in Spanish. But... it all went well... I think ;) Nothing is awkward unless you make it awkward, right?!? I read a scripture with one of our investigators, who has been living with his girlfriend for 8 years and has 2 kids. I was nervous to read the scripture but I did it anyway, because the Spirit told me to. He looked at me and told me that he knew he was sinning and needed to change. With a big Hermana Newman grin, I turned to him and his girlfriend smiled and said, "Si! Entonces, ustedes piensen es una buena idea ser casarse?" (Yes, so, do you think it’s a good idea to be married then?)

He busted up laughing and said, "Yes Sister Newman that would be a good idea."  Made me so happy. Now this week we have to work with them and get a date set.

I love every moment. Yes we have hard times, sad times, awkward, fun, happy ... all of the above! Every time is worthwhile. I am learning and growing a lot. And it is my hope that I am helping other people learn and grow as well.

Hermana Newman's district right before transfers
Nothing too big going on here this week. Just little miracles all around. I love seeing people learning about the Gospel and changing. To see the Gospel changing lives here as a missionary is pretty amazing. I love it! It is really hard to see people turn down the truth and walk away, but I know that with time, they will be ready for the truth as well. It’s all about timing. Who is ready and who needs a little more time.

I have learned so much here in Maryland and seen a lot of things that I never have before. It makes me really grateful for what we have. A lot of times we take things for granted. Every time we go to an apartment and there are 3 or 4 families crammed into a rundown apartment, my heart breaks.

We are so blessed to have the things we do. We are so blessed to have the Gospel in our lives. We were chosen to have the Gospel and share it with others. I admire those who don’t have the Gospel for so long and then find it and are able and willing to make that changeHeavenly Father's plan is perfect and He wants nothing more than to have us all choose the right path and be able to return to Him again.

Brittany always used to say this and it kind of made me chuckle but now I understand. "I am a little homesick for heaven." I can't wait until we all get to be together in Heaven and be with our Savior and Father in Heaven. What a great day that will be. For now... keep the work moving. Go out and find those who need to be found.

Love you! Have a great week! You are always in my prayers.

Con Amor,

Hermana Newman :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

We Are a Mission of Hope

COLUMBIA, MD - Holy Smokes time is going by so fast! This is the last week of the transfer! Can you believe it? I know it’s not very long in the long run but I can’t believe I have been gone almost 4 months now.

Time is crazy! I am loving every second of it though. A lot of you have asked so I will let you know... No word on the Visa yet. No worries :) God has perfect timing so I will get to Buenos Aires right when I am supposed to! For now, I love Columbia and the branch is sooooo great. And good news, this week we finally got a ward mission leader! SO happy! He will be a lot of help I am sure.

This week has been pretty crazy. Normal missionary work as always but then we have had other meetings or activities every day of the week. Just for fun here is some of the things we did:

Monday- Normal P-day

Tuesday- District meeting and Teamups with the Elders (2 elders 2 sisters go teach together) It is pretty fun and a good experience. You should have seen the look on the Elders faces when they came to our area because they know zero Spanish but, they were troopers.

Wednesday- We had an all-day training for new missionaries and trainers. It was awesome! I learned so much and am grateful for inspired leaders. It got me pumped to be an even better missionary. Thank goodness for repentance. We can always repent, start over and do better.

Thursday- We were on exchanges from Wednesday night to Friday morning. I love exchanges. I went with the YSA branch in English so that was a new experience for me. It reminds me of how different every person is. People have so many different life experiences and need different things in their lives. But the cool thing is, the gospel can help anyone and everyone in some way.

Exchanges with Sister Jones and Yardley

Friday- We got to go to an Orioles Baseball game because it was Mormon Night. It was really fun but super weird to be at a game and not proselyting. I kept thinking about Dad and Nick. Ha! I guess I really don’t know how baseball works but I have now been to a MLB game. Next time I think I will need Dad with me to help explain what is going on ;) hee hee

Saturday- We got the Rivera family to come see a baptism! Wahooo :) Jennifer was pretty excited about it and asked me when her baptism could be. She didn’t stop smiling the rest of the service. So hopefully they will be progressing towards that this week. Those girls want to be baptized but they lack a lot of family support so I want to make sure they are ready and not just baptized and go less active right after.
Sunday- Church :) And we had 2 less actives come that haven’t been to church in years!!! Happy day.

The Lord is blessing our lives everyday. And I feel lucky that he chose me to help him spread the word here in Maryland. There are soooooo many people who are confused or lost and don’t even know it. In our training this week President said something that got me thinking a lot. He said, "We used to be a mission of hope... now we are a mission of help." Wow. How true that is. We don’t just HOPE people will come unto Christ. We HELP people come unto Christ. And as members of this church and disciples of Christ, that is our duty and calling. Help our Brothers and Sisters come unto Christ.

Someone in our training also shared this quote that I liked, "If you are really trying to be your best, you won’t be comfortable." That is one of the biggest lessons I have learned out here on a mission. If you want God to help you, step out of your comfort zone, and be willing and ready to do it. It is scary I know! Bah! I used to be soooo nervous to talk to people. But, you just gotta do it and get lost in the work. I know I keep saying it but it is important- Go be a missionary today! Find out how Heavenly Father needs your help and go do it! Sister Dirkmaat (Bobby's mom)  shared a scripture with me this week that I really liked and think we all can benefit from. D&C 29:4-7! 

Verily, I say unto you that ye are chosen out of the world to declare my gospel with the sound of rejoicing, as with the avoiceof a trump.
 Lift up your hearts and be aglad, for I am in your bmidst, and am your cadvocate with the Father; and it is his good will to give you the dkingdom.
 And, as it is written—Whatsoever ye shall aask in bfaith, beingcunited in prayer according to my command, ye shall receive.
 And ye are called to bring to pass the agathering of mine belect; for mine elect chear my voice and dharden not their ehearts;

Go share what you know. People are waiting and depending on you! You can do it!

Bahhhhhh I sure do love you family!
Have a wonderful week!
-Hermana Newman :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Where's Waldo

COLUMBIA, MD. - Hello again :)

First off..... Congratulations Miss Aubree Watko! [Aubrey is Sara’s good friend from the Ward who received her call to Detroit Michigan] I am so excited and proud of you girlie! You are going to be the best missionary ever. I am excited for the people who get to know you. You are going to bless many lives. Happy Birthday to Bobby today. Happy Birthday to Nick this week too! Love you Brother! :) Big 30! Party it up.

This week I have no idea what to say. We had a great week. Lots of teaching opportunities and met some great new people. I had a story I wanted to share with you but it is in my journal which unfortunately I left at home :( But, we had Zone Conference this week so I will share a thought from that.
I love this Temple.

First, I love Zone Conference! Wow, we learned so much. Sister Richards (Presidents wife) shared a little story and thought with us about Waldo. Do you remember those book "Where's Waldo?" She related it to us and how we need to be like Waldo.  Waldo is always the same. He never changes based on people or other factors in his life. He stands firm and true. Well... you can probably see where this story is going. We need to be like Waldo. Do we change our standards around different people and situations? Or do we stand for what we know? Do we stand out in the crowd? Can people find us and know there is something different? I hope we can stand out. I hope people look at all of us and notice something different. It makes a difference and people are watching us every day! Make sure you remember who you represent. At all times you are a member of the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day Saints. You promised to represent him when you were baptized. He is there to help you. We are never alone. If we are willing, we can be instruments in the hands of God. (Alma 29:9)

Sorry my thoughts are short this week. But sometimes short and sweet is the best way to do it. Just ask yourself, Am I doing what Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father need me to be doing? How am I representing them? Do I need to make some changes? Really think about it. I have A LOT to work on myself. So I invite you all to join me. Pray this week to know what you need to be doing better, and how you can help. Our Purpose is to learn and grow and Help Others Come To Christ! If we are too busy for that... we are much to busy!

Hermana Fabi Rodriquez and a potential investigator and her daughters

I love you so much. I miss you like crazy. I am blessed to be here so thank you for your love and support! Have a wonderful week! Keep Smiling :) Life is good!

-Hermana Newman

Monday, August 5, 2013

Going and doing

COLUMBIA, Md.  — Another wonderful week in Maryland has passed. I can’t believe I have been in Maryland for 2 months. It’s not very long, but time is flying for sure! The weather here is still hot, but thankfully not as hot as a couple weeks ago. It is bearable and I don’t mind it at all.

I would now just love to get rid of the yucky mosquitoes. I don’t have eczema on my legs anymore, but they are infested with mosquito bites. Dumb bugs! All is well, though, as long as I don’t get mosquitoes in Argentina and get dengue, I think I will be good.

This week has been great. Guess where I got to go?!? Don’t be too jealous.

Yes, got to go to the DC Visitor Center. The temple is beautiful just like everyone has told me :) I wish we could have gone inside! I miss going to the temple. I haven’t been in 2 months, which is the longest time I have ever been without going to the temple. It is killing me. But it’s okay because I am a missionary and get to help the people here in Maryland instead. But one day, I am coming back to Maryland and going to the DC temple. It is way pretty! We went with a member in the branch and a family from Mexico. It was really nice, and I think they liked it a lot. They were really shy and didn’t talk too much, but we are going to start teaching them this week. I am really excited!

It has been a little hard to find new investigators and visit members and less actives because it is summer. And apparently, people like to leave and go on vacation in the summer. What? Who do they think they are? Don’t they know that we need them here and we have a message to change their lives? ;)

I can't think of a particular story to tell this week, but I have definitely learned a few things. One big lesson I have learned again this week was the easiest and best way to do things is just by following the Spirit. We found one family and two ladies this week to teach because we went by the Spirit and were not afraid to open our mouths. I Love it!

We were walking around trying to find a potential investigator's house. That’s when we happened upon a lady named Sara. I had the impression to say hello and talk to her. I was scared for some reason though. I kept fighting with myself while we were walking up to her what I would do. Finally we caught up and it was go time. What am I going to do? Talk to her or just smile, say hi and keep walking?

What kind of question is that, Hermana Newman? 

Luckily, I had my head on straight and I listened and I talked and walked with her for a bit. Asked her how she was doing and who we were etc. I asked if she lived close and if we could share a message with her and her family. She smiled and me and said, "Claro, Hermana. Pasen." (Of course sister, come in) My heart stopped for a split second.

What? Did she really just say yes? That doesn’t usually happen. 

A lot of times they are not interested, too busy or ask us to come back a different day. I was so happy. We met with her family and got to know them better and started teaching them about the Restoration. Long story short, we have a new family to teach. I know it is not because of me: totally the Spirit guiding two 'lil sister missionaries. I know that when we forget ourselves, not worry about it and just go and do what Heavenly Father needs us to, we can see miracles and have blessings.

Another cool blessing I have noticed this week was my Spanish. Trust me, I am nowhere near fluent. I have quite a ways to go, but I can definitely get around and talk to people. I mess up sometimes and people love to help me. A lot of the times I am so scared and just have to pretend I am not. But this week, as I put my fear aside, the Lord helped me open my mouth and speak.

My Spanish is slowly increasing and getting better. I love leaving appointments and thinking back, "Wow, we just taught that whole thing in Spanish."  Or just walking around outside talking to everyone and having conversations in Spanish. I really do love these people already. They are awesome! 

By the time they get to Argentina, they might not need these coats.
My absolute favorite thing is when people look at us with weird faces and are just staring. It’s the best. They are staring because they see two lil white girls speaking to them in Spanish. I love when people ask, "Where did you learn to speak Spanish?" Or "How long have you known Spanish?" It’s the best! Testimony to me of how much God really can help us. I have only been out 3 months and my language still needs a lot of improvement, but from going from zero Spanish to where I am now? I am grateful to my Heavenly Father every day! What a blessing.

The cool thing is that Heavenly Father wants to bless us all every day, but we just have to ask. This week, ask for specific blessings — do your part and I know that God can bless you with what you need if it is His will. God is so loving and wants to help us. Don’t think if you don’t get it right away that He doesn’t care. I absolutely know 100% He does care! God is a God of miracles and blessings. He loves me and He definitely loves you. Be good, do what you are supposed to, strive everyday to be a little better and you will see blessings, and your life will change for the better.

I love you with all my heart!  Have a fabulous week! Until next time: Give em Heaven!

Con Amor,
Hermana Newman :)